You might have seen the POLITICO piece about Harry Reid and the rest of the bottom-feeders he represents in the Senate Democrat majority and what they’re contemplating in an effort to put a stop to Sen. David Vitter’s agitation about Obamacare, and the federal government picking up the tab for those who work on Capitol Hill to cover the increased costs for their health insurance.
All week long Vitter has been railing against such an idea, arguing that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington shouldn’t be getting freebies that private-sector people and individuals outside of DC don’t get, and he’s made Reid and his crowd angry.
But Democrats have objected to Vitter’s demands to allow his plan to be voted on as part of the energy efficiency bill now before the Senate. The back-and-forth has grown increasingly heated on the floor, leading to a virtual standstill over the energy bill; the Senate has voted just once this week after a five-week summer recess.
“It’s been a totally wasted week,” Reid said on the floor Thursday evening.
Whether the Democrats’ Vitter-focused plan will move forward remains to be seen. But it comes as the fight over congressional health care has emerged as a new test of conservative purity, particularly among Republicans seeking higher office. Vitter is widely seen as a potential candidate for Louisiana governor in 2015.
The push by some conservative Republicans to take aim at congressional health care has put some of their GOP colleagues in an uncomfortable spot. While virtually every Republican has called for a repeal of Obamacare, many of them are fine with the idea of receiving federal contributions to help pay for the coverage provided to them and their staff.
If this government contribution had ended, lawmakers and aides would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments annually. Under the old system, the government contributed nearly 75 percent of premium payments.
The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, has ruled that the federal government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides. OPM initially balked at such a ruling, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Reid — under fire from their rank-and-file lawmakers and staff — pressured President Barack Obama to get personally involved in the matter.
GOP Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Dean Heller of Nevada, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma are all backing the Vitter proposal, which has angered Democrats.
Here was Vitter on the floor of the Senate yesterday…
Well, Reid and his gang have decided to go Chicago on Vitter as a result of his irritating them…
There are three options Democratic senators are weighing in response to Vitter’s proposal.
Under one scenario, no federal contribution may be given to a lawmaker or an aide if a congressional ethics committee has “probable cause to determine” that the individual has “engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.”
Another option includes broader language that would deny contributions to those found to have engaged in “improper conduct reflecting discreditably on the congressional office involved.”
And a third proposal would deny coverage to lawmakers who vote for the Vitter plan, even if it doesn’t become law.
It’s a bit predictable and a bit more tiresome that virtually every Democrat response to anything Vitter says or does is “Hookers!” That was pretty much all Charlie Melancon had on offer back in 2010, and he couldn’t even get 40 percent of the vote while running against Vitter.
It’s also a bit ironic that the collection of reprobates and degenerates Reid’s caucus consists of would think of putting a morals clause which amounts to a bill of attainder expressly forbidden in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. After all, Reid gave Bob Menendez a committee chairmanship and Menendez would be just as susceptible to a finding of probable cause to determine that he’s engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.
As to “improper conduct reflecting discreditably on the congressional office involved,” Reid himself would fall afoul of that one. So would Max Baucus, whom Reid made a committee chairman. And Barbara Boxer. And Dick Durbin. And Diane Feinstein. And a number of the others in that caucus who routinely avail themselves of underhanded financial transactions and other things people with higher standards than Harry Reid would call “improper conduct reflecting discreditably on the congressional office involved.”
But this is the world Vitter lives in, and he can’t ask for a whole lot of sympathy in a chamber as full of snakes as the Senate is. All he can do is to keep plugging along in an effort to do some good, and recognize that getting shamed by shameless people like Harry Reid for his past sins is what he can expect.
There aren’t a lot of good guys in Washington. Vitter deserves some credit for at least trying to make the bad guys cost us less. That he’d pay the price for that by having a bunch of thug Senators bring up his past sexual indiscretions is neither shocking nor particularly damaging at this point. Where this issue is concerned, what it is is instructive as to the depths Reid and his crowd will sink to in order to preserve the privileges they can wheedle out of our wallets.